Tag Archives: food waste

ANOTHER PLANET?

airpollutionThe Guardian tells us that pledges by most of the world’s countries on climate change are likely to lead to less than 3C of global warming over the century. The UN praised governments for coming forward with plans to limit their greenhouse gas emissions, to kick in from 2020 when current commitments expire. The plans from 146 countries that cover nearly 90% of global emissions, known as INDCs or Intended Nationally Determined Contributions in the UN jargon, will form the centrepiece of the make-or-break Paris conference on climate change this December. However, while the plans represent a significant advance on current trends, which would result in as much as 5C of warming if left unchecked, they are not enough in themselves to limit global warming to the 2C threshold that countries are preparing to agree on. This is widely regarded scientifically as the limit of safety, beyond which many of the effects of climate change – floods, droughts, heatwaves, sea level rises and more intense storms – are likely to become much more dangerous. However Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Venezuela are among the 40 countries who have failed to make their pledges.

The World faces a looming and potentially calamitous “cold crunch”, with demand for air conditioning and refrigeration growing so fast that it threatens to smash pledges and targets for global warming. Worldwide power consumption for air conditioning alone is forecast to surge 33-fold by 2100 as developing world incomes rise and urbanisation advances. Already, the US uses as much electricity to keep buildings cool as the whole of Africa uses on everything; China and India are fast catching up. By mid-century people will use more energy for cooling than heating. And since cold is still overwhelmingly produced by burning fossil fuels, emission targets agreed at next month’s international climate summit in Paris risk being blown away as governments and scientists struggle with a cruel climate-change irony: cooling makes the planet hotter.  How America Became Addicted to Air Conditioning.

food wasteFrance’s National Assembly has unanimously passed a measure requiring all supermarkets 400 square feet or larger to donate unsold food to charity, for animal feed, or for farming compost. All grocery stores are banned from purposefully ruining food. “It’s scandalous to see bleach being poured into supermarket dustbins along with edible foods,” said Guillaume Garot, the Socialist deputy who sponsored the bill. In the UK supermarket chain Morrisons has become the first supermarket chain to donate all of its surplus edible food to local community groups. The chain will appoint a supermarket ‘champion’ at each store to liaise with local community groups. A trial in 112 stores showed up to four trolley loads of perfectly safe and edible food a week from each shop could be salvaged. Last year supermarkets threw away 180,000 tonnes of food – although up to 100,000 tonnes is turned into biogas.

Check out some shower gel, and it might have lots of little bits in it. Most of the time, these are tiny spheres of plastic called “microbeads.” Designed to scrub your body and remove dead skin, they’re not just found in shower gel – cleaning products, facial scrub, and even toothpaste often contains them too. They might seem harmless and insignificant, but collectively trillions are being washed into our sewers and polluting our rivers and oceans every day. And now scientists want them banned – as the world’s oceans are being filled with microplastic, which is any piece of polymer less than 5 millimeters in size. Normally, these result from the break down by UV light of larger pieces that are floating in the oceans, but microbeads are a separate, distinct issue. No bigger than a grain of sand at around 1 millimeter, microbeads are not something our water treatment plants were designed to filter out from waste water and trillions and trillions are getting into our sewage and water waste and polluting our seas and oceans. MORE HERE.

flickricelandDavid Cameron is poised to launch an ambitious project that could see Britain harnessing the power of Iceland’s volcanoes within the next 10 years.The plan would involve the construction of 750 miles of undersea cabling, allowing the UK to exploit Iceland’s long-term, renewable geothermal energy. Teeming with volcanic activity, Iceland reportedly meets around 95 per cent of its own electricity needs using geothermal sources – but its remote location has made exporting it almost impossible. British officials told the Press Association that the new “UK-Iceland Energy Task Force” had been set up to examine the feasiblity of the scheme and told to report back in six months.

Installation has started  on Europe’s largest floating solar power system which will generate 2.7GWh of renewable, zero carbon energy each year on a reservoir near Manchester. The 12,000-panel system is being developed by water giant United Utilities at the cost of £3.5m. The 45,500 sq.m project will float on the Godley reservoir in Hyde. Chris Stubbs, head of renewable energy at United Utilities, said: “We have a target to generate 35% of our power requirements by 2020 and this project will make a significant contribution to that aim.

Puffin and turtle dove numbers across the globe have plummeted so rapidly the birds now face the same extinction threat as the African elephant and lion, say conservationists. Atlantic puffins and European turtle doves have been added for the first time to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list of species at risk of being wiped out. In total, four UK bird species have been added to the new list, doubling to eight the number of bird species commonly seen in Britain now given official “vulnerable” status. A further 14 UK species are considered “near threatened”.

Edie.net reports that business leaders have welcomed the recognition of carbon pricing within the latest draft text of the climate agreement, but concerns remain over the lack of progress on climate finance from richer nations. The final round of preliminary climate negotiations came to a close in Bonn ahead of the crucial Paris Summit in December. A 20-page negotiating document was expanded to 63 pages over the course of the five days. Green groups have commended the progress, considering that at same point before the Copenhagen climate summit in 2009, 180 pages of negotiating text had been drawn up.

SOLAR POWERA plan to ‘save the solar industry’ by adding £1 on to UK consumer energy bills has received support from a cross-party coalition of 30 MPs. The plan, proposed by the Solar Trade Association, would significantly reduce the cuts suggested by the Government in its consultation on the Feed-in Tariff. The review seeks to reduce subsidies for small-scale solar to around £7m over the next three years.

The UK’s budget squeeze will mean safe cycle lanes will not be guaranteed by the UK Government, losing out to road building and the new UK rail links and upgrades over the next five years.

Working on an allotment once a week can help tackle band moods, dispel tension and encourage weight loss, a new study has suggested.  The Universities of Westminster and Essex say that allotments provide both physical and mental health benefits – boosting self esteem – and researchers say local authorities should provide more space for allotments.

A new initiative launched has been launched by WRAP to reduce the carbon, water and waste footprints of the textiles industries across 11 European countries. In partnership with the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB), WRAP’s European Clothing Action Plan (ECAP) has received a €3.6m fund from the European Union’s environmental financial support instrument, EU Life. It aims to divert over 90,000 tonnes of clothing away from landfill each year in Europe by 2019. WRAP chief executive Liz Goodwin said: “Finding more sustainable ways to work with textiles is an area set to deliver huge benefits – both economic and environmental.

A controversial €100m (£71m) dam project in a Macedonian national park is expected to be scrapped after independent experts called for a halt to all funding and construction work because of risks to critically endangered species, including the Balkan lynx. A Bern Convention mission to the Mavrovo national park reported that the planned hydropower dam there was “not compatible” with protection of the park’s status, ecosystems or species. The European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has put up €65m in loans for the project but its environmental guidelines forbid the funding of projects prohibited by the Bern Convention, a legally-binding pact between 51 states. MORE HERE.

The Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) is calling on Britain’s fleet operators and local authorities to band together to create a new low-carbon market for heavy goods vehicles. The LowCVP has stated that independent testing of retrofit technology, a switch to natural gas and biomethane and supporting the transition to hybrid and pure EVs in urban environments are the three main opportunities the HGV market has to adopt a low carbon ethos. LowCVP managing director Andy Eastlake said: “In terms of road transport, most of the focus in recent years has been on cutting emissions from cars and buses.

Green energy provider Ecotricity has announced plans to build three new ‘hybrid’ renewable energy parks, combining wind and solar power generation in the same project. Hybrid renewable energy parks combine wind and solar power generation using the same grid connection to maximise efficiency and reduce initial costs.

The Gulf in the Middle East, the heartland of the global oil industry, will suffer heatwaves beyond the limit of human survival if climate change is unchecked, according to a new scientific study. The extreme heatwaves will affect Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Doha and coastal cities in Iran as well as posing a deadly threat to millions of Hajj pilgrims in Saudi Arabia, when the religious festival falls in the summer. The study shows the extreme heatwaves, more intense than anything ever experienced on Earth, would kick in after 2070 and that the hottest days of today would by then be a near-daily occurrence. “Our results expose a specific regional hotspot where climate change, in the absence of significant [carbon cuts], is likely to severely impact human habitability in the future,” said Prof Jeremy Pal and Prof Elfatih Eltahir, both at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, writing in the journal Nature Climate Change.
chinaHMteasueryThe UK and Chinese governments have signed an agreement to share knowledge and encourage investment in clean energy technologies in both countries. The Clean Energy Partnership will enable UK companies share their expertise in low-carbon innovation and secure new business in the Chinese energy market, the largest in the world. It is also hoped that the deal will encourage more investment in clean technologies, helping reduce costs to consumers in both countries. The deal came as part of a state visit by Chinese president Xi Jinping in which a number of other collaboration agreements were also announced, including investment in UK nuclear power, the first ever Chinese investment in the UK offshore wind market, and the establishment of joint offshore wind industry advisory groups. It has been pointed out that investment by the UK in its own renewables might be a wiser option …….

Construction of a £1.5bn windfarm off the Suffolk coast is to go ahead in November with the creation of nearly 800 jobs, after three new partners were found to back the project. The future of the Galloper windfarm was left in doubt last year when energy company SSE pulled out of the project, blaming the cost, and the subsidy regime. The remaining partner, RWE Innogy, halted work. But RWE Innogy announced on Friday that Siemens Financial Services and the investment and financial services group Macquarie Capital, along with the UK government’s Green Investment Bank, had become joint 25% equity partners. Offshore wind is one of the few parts of the UK renewable energy sector to have emerged unscathed after a round of cuts to onshore wind and solar power subsidies since the majority Conservative government  took power in May.

 

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ANOTHER PLANET?

popefrancisPope Francis has called for further action on climate change saying that it was “a critical moment of history”, on the first day of his visit to the US. Speaking to a crowd of more than 11,000 people on the White House South Lawn, the pontiff said the problem could “no longer be left to a future generation”. President Barack Obama said the Pope reminded people “that we have a sacred obligation to protect our planet”.

US President Barack Obama has announced his administration will invest more than $160m in innovative technology across a range of American cities in an attempt to help local communities tackle key sustainability challenges. The ‘smart cities’ program was announced in concurrence with a forum as part of Smart Cities Week and will encourage cities to stop looking for a ‘single silver bullet’ and instead cooperate with governments, NGOs and businesses to build thriving sustainable communities. Obama said: “Every community is different, with different needs and different approaches. But communities that are making the most progress on these issues have some things in common. They don’t look for a single silver bullet; instead they bring together local government and nonprofits and businesses and teachers and parents around a shared goal.”

Leonardo DiCaprio has pledged to divest his personal wealth and charitable foundation’s fund from fossil fuels, joining a group of investors worth more than $2.6trn, according to new figures. A report from Arabella Advisors has revealed that the divestment movement has grown 50-fold over the last year, now featuring 400 institutions and 2,000 individuals. DiCaprio, who announced his own divestment this week, said: “Climate change is severely impacting the health of our planet and all of its inhabitants, and we must transition to a clean energy economy that does not rely on fossil fuels, the main driver of this global problem.

Environmentalists have criticised a decision to appoint a former consultant to major oil and gas companies as UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s key adviser on energy and environment policy. Stephen Heidari-Robinson, a little-known consultant from oilfield services company Schlumberger, arrives in Downing Street just months before the prime minister is expected to attend the UN’s global climate change summit which begins in Paris in December. A Number 10 spokesman confirmed the appointment of Heidari-Robinson, who started in the job this week. It is understood he will serve as a lead energy and environment adviser to the prime minister, liaising with senior ministers and officials across Whitehall.

London_Big_Ben_Phone_boxAnd former U.S. Vice President and Nobel Prize winner Al Gore has has called on the British government to resume its former leadership on climate change, in order to forge a global agreement on greenhouse gas emissions this December at a crunch conference in Paris. While saying he would not interfere in other countries’ politics, Gore said he was “puzzled” by the Conservative government’s measures to roll back support for renewable energy. Gore, who spoke at an event hosted by Green Alliance,  was followed by a speech from CBI director general John Cridland, who warned the government’s surprise decision to impose deep cuts on a host of renewable energy and energy efficiency schemes sent a “worrying signal” to investors and businesses.

Britain could get 85% of its energy – not just electricity – from renewables by 2030, a new Greenpeace-sponsored report has found.  The study, carried out by analysts at Demand Energy Equality, used 11 years of real weather data to model renewable output and how it can match up to expected demand. It found that renewables could meet the vast majority of the country’s energy needs if the UK Government chooses to support a major expansion of wind and solar farms and promotes a variety of new technologies such as ‘smart fridges’, electricity storage, energy efficiency, tidal power and electric cars.

A host of high-profile companies, including NIKE and Procter & Gamble, are the latest to join RE100 – an initiative whose members are committed to sourcing 100% renewable energy. Goldman Sachs, Johnson & Johnson, Salesforce, Starbucks, Steelcase, Voya and Walmart have also signed up to the campaign, which has seen members rise from 12 to 36 just one year after launch. Mark Kenber, CEO of The Climate Group which helped establish the initiative, said: “Research shows that the most ambitious companies have seen a 27% return on their low carbon investments – no wonder new names keep joining RE100.

The market for utility-scale battery storage is expected to increase 18-fold by 2024, according to analysis released today by market research firm Frost & Sullivan. Revenue from grid-connected utility-scale batteries totalled $0.46bn in 2014, but is expected to rise to $8.30bn in 2024, driven by “impressive technological breakthroughs and growth in manufacturing capabilities”. For example, Tesla’s forthcoming Gigafactory in Nevada, which will be producing 35GWh worth of batteries by 2020 – more capacity than was produced globally in 2013.

BP_Petrol_StationEdie.net reports that Chevron, BP and Shell are among 50 oil companies who face an investigation from the Phillipine courts, after accusations that they have fuelled ‘catastrophic climate change resulting in human rights violations’. A complaint has been submitted to the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines (CHR), by Greenpeace Southeast Asia, demanding an investigation into the top 50 investor-owned companies which release the most CO2 emissions annually. The complaint calls for the investigation to launch this year as it will establish a ‘moral and legal precedent’ that big polluters can be held accountable for current ‘human rights infringements’. Between 2000 and 2008, weather-related disasters accounted for 78% of all disaster-based deaths in the Philippines. Over the last 10 years the country had to deal with damages of up to $24bn due to storms affecting 12.1 million people.

The man who tried to become the world’s first climate refugee is set to be deported from New Zealand in the next week. Ioane Teitiota overstayed his visa in New Zealand in 2011 and faced deportation. However, he launched a legal appeal, claiming that his homeland – the Pacific island nation of Kiribati – was threatened by rising sea-levels. Kiribati’s land averages little more than six feet above sea level and is one of the most vulnerable nations in the world to rising sea levels, driven by climate change. Sea levels are expected to rise between 2.5-6.5 feet by the end of the century, putting much of Kiribati underwater. However, Teitiota’s appeals have been rejected throughout the New Zealand judicial system, with the Supreme Court ruling against him in July. Earlier courts called Teitiota’s argument ‘novel but unconvincing’, adding that millions in low-lying countries faced a similar plight.

Plans to build a Centre of Renewable Energy Excellence in Pembrokeshire have been unveiled in Wales, in a bid to make the area an international standard-bearing for green energy.

Edie also reports that Sainsbury’s has launched a five-year, £10m innovation project to try and tackle the problem of household food waste in the UK. The supermarket is searching for a town in the UK that will become a ‘test bed for innovation’; to find which initiatives are most effective in reducing food waste. Findings and recommendations from year one of the ‘Waste Less, Save More’ initiative will be developed into a blueprint and made public so that communities across the country can benefit from the results.
Sainsbury’s says it will then focus on “making a long-term difference” and measuring the impact of the activity, with the final phases of the project exploring opportunities to reduce other forms of waste.

Disposable nappies, incontinent pads and feminine hygiene products will have a new life as plastic bins and pet litter thanks to a new recycling facility planned for West London. Development plans for the UK’s largest Absorbent Hygiene Product (AHP) recycling site in Hayes have been submitted by Knowaste – an American recycling firm which aims to build seven such facilities across the UK within the next five years. The £14m ‘Hayes 180’ site, which is planned to launch in early 2017, will charge local authorities and commercial hygiene companies a set fee to use the facility, replacing the existing mandatory landfill or incineration costs associated with AHPs.

babyorangThe SumOfUs tells us that ” At last! After more than a year of campaigning, Doritos and its parent company PepsiCo just came out with a new palm oil policy. Thanks to you, the policy contains stronger language around human rights and carbon emissions. And PepsiCo is the first company that’s agreed to publish an action plan within 3 months of releasing this new policy But, there’s a problem. The new policy still contains massive loopholes.  Under the policy, the rainforest will still be destroyed, endangered species like the Sumatran tiger and orangutan will still suffer, and workers (many of them children) will still be exploited. How? The policy does not cover PepsiCo’s business partner in Indonesia, Indofood, which produces all of PepsiCo’s products in Southeast Asia. But PepsiCo has caved to our pressure before — and we can get them to cave again”. MORE HERE – and please SHARE!

At the end of November, world leaders will meet at the UN climate talks in Paris. It’s a crucial moment, as negotiators from more than 190 nations will gather to discuss a new global agreement on climate change aimed at limiting greenhouse gas emissions from 2020 when current commitments run out. Inspired by their faith, pilgrims from across the UK will come together to call on world leaders to agree a fair, ambitious and binding climate change deal in Paris. The Church of England, Christian Aid, CAFOD and Tearfund have come together to organise a Pilgrimage2Paris ahead of the UN talks. The pilgrimage will start in London on 13 November and arrive in Paris on 27 November.

african-elephant2 Chinese President, Xi Jinping, and the president of the United States, Mr. Barack Obama made ​​history today by announcing rapid measures from their two countries to protect elephants from poaching crisis they are facing. In a joint statement, the presidents pledged to enact “nearly complete bans on imports and exports of ivory, including significant and immediate restrictions on the import of ivory as hunting trophies.” They also promised “take meaningful and timely action to end the ivory trade in their domestic market.” In addition, the two leaders pledged to intensify their cooperation to curb the increase in wildlife trafficking that endangers countless species around the world. The United States government had already committed to a “near total ban” of the ivory trade. This represents a big step forward from their Chinese counterpart. More (in French) on the IFAW here.

Shell has abandoned its controversial drilling operations in the Alaskan Arctic in the face of mounting opposition in what jubilant environmentalists described as “an unmitigated defeat” for big oil. The Anglo-Dutch company had repeatedly stressed the enormous hydrocarbon potential of the far north region in public, but in private began to admit it had been surprised by the popular opposition it faced.Shell said  it had made a marginal discovery of oil and gas with its summer exploration in the Chukchi Sea but not enough to continue to the search for the “foreseeable” future. Or see the Daily Mash here.

icegreen2

Freedom from Food Waste

foodYou’d assume that more individuals would be shocked into action after learning that every year a third of the food supply around the world never makes it to the dinner table. It rots in the fields, while being transported or after arriving at market shelves. And even it does make it home, it still stands a high risk of going unnoticed in the refrigerator and exceeding its expiration date.

In developed nations where food is cheap and plentiful, the reality of food waste is a tough topic to drive home. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, however, United Kingdom households waste an estimated 6.7 million tonnes of food every year, around one third of the 21.7 million tonnes purchased. This means that approximately 32% of all food purchased per year is not eaten. The implications extend far beyond financial expenditures – food waste has massive health and environmental consequences as well.

Money Costs

The cost of growing and disposing of food never used is estimated at $1 trillion dollars globally. Other costs include $172 billion of water, over $400 billion from increased greenhouse gas emissions and $150 billion of additional healthcare costs due to pesticide exposure.

foodwaste`


Social Costs

About 800 million people go to bed hungry every night in the world despite a food surplus that could feed 2.5 billion more. Hunger leads to sickness, deaths and political instability. These food waste side effects are especially tragic considering that the resources expended producing that surplus could be redirected toward technology improvements to improve the “cold chain” of food supply in developing countries.

Environmental Costs

Food production is not a carbon-neutral proposition. The burning of fossil fuels by farm machinery, trucks, and fertilizer plants accelerates climate change, and food waste’s contribution is significant, since rotting food produces methane, which is a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. According to Enmax, in total, an excess of 3.3 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases arise from food waste annually. Additionally, as the frequency and severity of droughts increase, both freshwater and arable land become increasingly scarce commodities. Food production utilizes a large percentage of our valuable water resources, and as it goes from farm to store to landfill, it continues to squander precious freshwater.

 

marrow by ben cWhat You Can Do

Fortunately, each of us can make an enormous impact on reducing food waste:

  • Shop your refrigerator first. Smartphone and online apps help you prepare meals from what you have on hand. These help you trim your grocery purchases as well.
  • Prepare and serve smaller portions. This is also a good way to mind the calories.
  • Use sell-by or expiration dates as guidelines, not deadlines. Food a few days past these dates is not necessarily spoiled.
  • Donate excess food to food banks. This reduces landfill waste and helps those who are hungry.
  • Learn how to can or otherwise preserve excess food so it does not end up in the garbage.
  • Perhaps most importantly, become aware of how much food you do waste. Keep track of anything you throw out. This step motivates you automatically to throw away less.
  • More ways to reduce food waste can be found here.

Other solutions to food waste are focused on improving access to refrigeration, creating more efficient transportation networks, regulating how much waste food from restaurants and individuals can be added to landfills and getting more food to hungry people.

Despite the stunning statistics concerning food waste, improving an awareness of the problem is one of the biggest barriers that stands in the way to solving it. When people truly understand the profound monetary and human costs associated with allowing perfectly good food to become trash, they will be more mindful of the ways in which it can be prevented. Hopefully, working together, we can all come up with effective solutions to reduce food waste and help restore the planet.

 

Beth Kelly © 2015

 

ANOTHER PLANET?

sla-logoEdie.net’s Sustainability Leaders Awards 2015 have broken the record for the highest amount of entries ever received in the awards’ 8 year history. Edie say they are all thrilled about the huge number of entries received – it is a sure reflection of how many of you are continuing to put the spotlight on sustainability And of course, it should also make for a great awards ceremony! With entry levels at an all time high, the 2015 awards promise to be something really special and Edie say “we cannot wait to get all leaders of sustainability under one roof to celebrate their achievements. More information here.

Twenty seven blocks of land across the UK have been formally offered to energy companies by the UK Government for the extraction of onshore oil and gas. The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), which allocated the land, said that a further 132 blocks were still undergoing environmental assessments, with the results expected “later in the year”. The first 27 blocks, each around 10km2 , are located mainly in the North East, North West and East Midlands. The second tranche is also largely clustered in the North of England. UK Energy Minister Lord Bourne said that onshore oil and gas – often recovered by fracking – would “play a key part in providing secure and reliable energy to UK homes and businesses for decades to come”.

arcticAnd Shell has received final permission from the US Government to drill for oil and gas in the Arctic Ocean for the first time since 2012. Having been granted permission by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) yesterday (17 August), Shell can begin exploratory operations into potential oil bearing zones in the Chukchi Sea of the coast of Alaska.The move comes after the icebreaker ship Fennica, which carries emergency well-capping equipment, arrived at the site.

Scottish Power has announced that its coal-fired Longannet power station will be closing on 31 March 2016 after 46 years of service . The closure was first announced back in March 2015, reportedly thanks to high carbon taxes and the high cost of connecting to the grid. Neil Clitheroe, the CEO of retail and generation at ScottishPower, said it was a sad day for the company, but green groups hailed the closure as a ‘historic step’ in Scotland’s energy transition.

Renewable power billionaire Elon Musk has introduced to the world his sleek new Powerwall – a wall-mounted energy storage unit that can hold 10 kilowatt hours of electric energy, and deliver it at an average of 2 kilowatts, all for US$3,500. That translates into an electricity price (taking into account installation costs and inverters) of around US$500 per kWh – less than half current costs, as estimated by Deutsche Bank. Read more here.

Leading representatives of Islam have called for action to tackle climate change across the world, at a symposium in Istanbul. Islamic representatives from the United Nations, the Middle East, the Far East, Africa and the UK set out a climate declaration for the world’s 1.6bn Muslims. The Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change says: “God created the Earth in perfect equilibrium … the present climate change catastrophe is a result of the human disruption of this balance.” The declaration from the leaders calls on the nations meeting in Paris in December later this year at the Conference of the Parties (COP21) talks on climate change to set clear targets, stressing the part well-off nations and oil-producing states have to play to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

birdsneonictonoidsThe bee-harming pesticides we’ve been fighting for years are worse than we imagined. Research suggests that neonicotinoids aren’t just decimating bee colonies — they’re hurting birds too. Researchers found that in areas with high concentrations of neonicotinoids, bird populations declined every year. This means our worst fears are coming true — neonicotinoids may be moving up the food chain and killing our birds and our bees. For the sake of the birds, the bees, and the whole food chain, THESUMOFUS are challenging one of the biggest neonicotinoids producers of them all: Bayer. “In two weeks, we’re going straight to Bayer’s door with our massive petition — and we hope to have your name in our massive petition box.” It’s not just the bees anymore. Neonicotinoids are killing our birds too. It’s time to get Bayer to stop producing these chemicals.

A new app that can reportedly cut household energy use by 10% is being rolled out to 200,000 Swedish homes. The Energy Tree app analyses data from the smart power grid to discover households’ energy trends and encourages users to consume less energy through personalised feedback and guidance. “The Energy Tree combines behavioural science and gamification with data analytics to engage and motivate households,” said a statement from the app developers Greenely. “By entering their energy consumption data into the user-friendly and accessible app consumers can realise a potential 10% reduction in energy use.” More here.

fde1Efficient recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) could be worth €3.7bn to the European economy by 2020, a new study has found. Researchers from the University of Sheffield found that recycling electronic waste was already worth €2.15bn in 2014 and could rise to €3.67bn by 2020. On top of the significant revenue gain, more effective recovery of materials could be environmentally beneficial by reducing manufacturers’ reliance on natural resources. The paper, entitled ‘Recycling of WEEEs: an economic assessment of present and future e-waste streamswas published by Professor Lenny Koh from the University of Sheffield and Federica Cucchiellaa, Idiano D’Adamoa  and Paolo Rosac  (University of L’Aquila, Italy). Professor Koh said: “This research has strong relevance to addressing global issues of materials availability and security, reducing reliance on unused non-renewable materials, especially precious, critical and rare earth materials in manufacturing for sustainability and for consideration for substitution.”

litterA survey has shown that 30% of people in the UK believe that more should be done to educate school children about recycling. Conducted by Direct365, the research highlighted that more needs to be done to inform future generations on how to minimise waste and promote eco-friendliness. As part of their Green365 campaign, which aims to help industries reduce their environmental impact, Direct365 asked 750 people a range of questions as to what measures schools can take to improve waste management. The survey showed that almost 30% want to see schools teach kids how to prevent food waste, while 25% stated that energy-saving lessons should be on the National Curriculum. 11% felt that children need more guidance on saving water

whales being mudreredThe horrific mass slaughter of whales in the Faroe Islands has sparked a reaction from two cruise lines, who announced they will no longer send their ships there. The latest move against the annual bloody massacre announcing means that Hapag-Lloyd and AIDA cruise lines are looking at alternative destinations for their vessels.  Both AIDA and Hapag-Lloyd were contacted by Netherlands-based charity Sea Shepherd to immediately postpone cruises to the Faroe Islands in the face of the on-going slaughters. Dr Monika Griefahn, a director at AIDA, confirmed the re-routing of the company’s ships in a letter to the charity. She said: “In the interest of our crew and our guests as well as for reasons for species protection AIDA Cruises has decided to stop making port calls to the Faroe Islands until further notice.”

handgunIn Culiacán, Mexico, the city with the highest rate of gun deaths in the nation, many people know the devastating consequences these weapons can contribute to. That’s where creative activist Pedro Reyes comes in. Reyes is an inspired artist who likes to focus on the failures of modern culture in a positive light. He doesn’t believe in failure but instead believes that failure is the outcome of a certain perspective. he has melted down  1,527 guns and turns them into shovels for planting trees. Reyes is an inspired artist who likes to focus on the failures of modern culture in a positive light. He doesn’t believe in failure but instead believes that failure is the outcome of a certain perspective. With this unique perception, he transforms things people see as broken and models them in a new way. He encouraged local residents to swap their guns for household and electronics goods vouchers before re-making the metal into shovels. Read More: http://www.trueactivist.com/artist-melts-1527-guns-and-turns-them-into-shovels-for-planting-trees/. Let’s be honest – of we divered all the vast amount of money spent on wars and weapons into food, medicine, education, culture and housing we would ALL be well fed, healthy and well educated.

Indigenous communities in Brazil are using a new project called Tribal Voice to publicise how their homes and lands are being destroyed by loggers, ranchers and miners. The peoples, from some of the remote areas of the world, use Tribal Voice to air their voices o the internet. In Brazil the powerful farming lobby is trying to persuade the Brazillian government to clear;ly map out tribal lands – something the agribusinesses want to control themselves. They are lobbying the Brazilian government to turn over control of the mapping from a independent agency to Congress itself – something tribespeople say would be a disaster. Tribal Voice (not to be confused with the UK based sustainable tourism consultancy or the clothing company both of the same name) say “Ever wondered what life’s like in a remote tribal community? What tribal people have to say about the world? Tribal Voice, a project by Survival International, brings the thoughts and experiences of some of the most diverse societies on earth direct to your screen in real time. We’re kicking off the project with two tribes in Brazil. The Guarani, whose land has been stolen and destroyed by plantations and ranches, are now sending regular updates about their lives, and their struggle to survive. It’s time to listen.”

The Guardian reRIOports that the world governing body of sailing is threatening to move events for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics out of the city’s polluted Guanabara Bay unless “a whole lot more is done very quickly” to clear the venue of floating debris and sewage. Alastair Fox, head of competitions for the governing body, ISAF, said: “We’ve got quite frustrated with it all,” adding that Brazilian “politicians and the government must get going”. Fox suggested two sailing courses located just outside the bay in the open Atlantic – and a third being planned there – could be used for all races. Three other courses have been planned inside the bay but may not be used. The enclosed bay is heavily polluted and has been described as an “open sewer” by Olympic sailors. The Rio state government promised to reduce the amount of raw sewage flowing into the bay by 80% but has since admitted that goal is unlikely to be met.
Gyre ocean rubbishA giant mass of floating plastic rubbish in the Pacific Ocean is believed to be far larger than previously feared — even though it was first estimated to be twice the size of Texas. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is much more than patch now – its a vast toxic ‘ocean fill’ of rubbish dumped from ships and washed out from the West Coast of North America. Julia Reisser, the main oceanographer on the “mega expedition” made up of 30 ships that surveyed the Patch, said that they had found much more plastic than expected, “perhaps an order of magnitude more”. The Ocean Star, the 171ft mother ship of the expedition, docked in San Francisco carrying huge white bags and freezers filled with plastic samples taken from 80 separate locations in the patch. “The trawls we did found little marine life, but lots and lots of plastic,” Dr Reisser said. “I would say that we had hundreds of times more plastic than organisms on our catch.” The Great Pacific Garbage Patch was first discovered by Charles Moore, a sailor and oceanographer, in 1997 as he returned home from the Transpacific Yacht Race, which starts in Los Angeles and ends in Honolulu. More here and more on Plastic Soup News here.

An American solar firm has launched a new liquid technology that turns regular windows into solar panels which could be up to 50 times more productive than regular roof-based photovoltaics. The solar windows, designed for skyscrapers, are created by applying ultra-thin layers of liquid coatings on to glass and flexible plastics. These liquid coatings produce ultra-small solar cells and form groups called ‘arrays’.  Solar Window Technologies revealed its innovation via a webinar, with a video demonstrating the windows collecting electricity, which was then used to charge a monitor.

orangsStarbucks has become the latest major brand to come under fire from campaign groups for its palm oil policy, with a new video urging consumers to boycott the coffee shop chain. The video is part of an ongoing campaign from the SumOfUs group, which has almost reached its petition goal of 200,000 signatures calling on Starbucks to cut conflict palm oil from its supply chain. The video highlights that, while 99% of Starbucks coffee is ethically sourced and sustainably produced, the company is still implementing “environment-wrecking” palm oil in its other commodities, such as baked goods

The private sector could cut more than five hundred megatons of greenhouse gas emissions in the next five years, simply by scaling up existing green initiatives, according to a new report. Researchers from the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) and energy consultancy Ecofys, analysed five current initiatives, such as the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 and En.lighten. The report found that expanding these schemes could save emissions equivalent to one years’ worth activity from 130 coal power stations. The report focuses in particular on so-called ‘cooperative initiatives’ between businesses, Governments and NGO’s. One of the programmes looked at is WWF’s Climate Savers, which aims to help companies develop zero-carbon business models.

In the USA President Obama has unveiled  a package of programmes to help America switch to cleaner energy, including $1bn in loan guarantees to boost ‘innovative’ technologies, like smart grids and solar rooftops. The funding will also go towards installing solar panels on military housing and helping low-income families become more energy-efficient The initiatives aim to boost innovation, ensure grid reliability and ‘help the country towards a low carbon future’.

Edie.net reports that Rebuilding Scotland’s energy sector around green technology could generate 44,000 additional jobs compared to the current oil-and-gas status quo. That’ s according to a new report – Jobs in Scotland’s new economy – published by the Scottish Greens.  The report states that 200,000 new jobs could be created by adopting more renewable energy, compared to the 156,000 people currently employed in the country’s fossil fuel industry.

Audi2018Audi has unveiled concept designs for its first all-electric SUV, with a full reveal expected at the International Motor Show 2015 in Frankfurt next month. The concept car – the Audi e-tron Quattro – would have a battery range of more than 310 miles. Audi says the E-tron Quattro would come somewhere between Audi’s current Q5 and Q7 models in terms of size, and a production model for the SUV could be expected from 2018. The German carmaker said the electric model was constructed using Audi’s experience of its electric Audi R8 e-tron sports car, which entered a highly limited, on-demand production run this year.

And a French start-up claims to have developed the world’s first Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) for road freight vehicles. Popularised in Formula 1, a KERS system recovers the kinetic energy usually lost under braking, and uses it to power a small electric motor. French firm Adgero, working with German company Skeleton Technologies, claims to have developed a KERS system that can be used with trucks and lorries, reducing associated emissions by up to 25%.

deforestationbrazilgreenpeaceAnd finally back to Brazil: Germany has pledged €550m to help Brazil’s deforestation and energy efficiency programmes as part of a new climate change agreement between the two countries. Following Angela Merkel’s state visit to Brasilia on Thursday, the two countries issued a joint statement calling for an ambitious agreement at the Paris climate talks in December. Brazil President Dilma Rousseff promised to end deforestation by 2030, while Germany also donated €23m to help Brazil establish a rural land registry aimed at increasing monitoring of the Amazon. “Brazil is the key to all goals related to the climate,” said Merkel. She added that the biodiversity of the rainforest was as important as its carbon absorption. “What gets destroyed here cannot be replaced,” she said. More on Edie.net here.

EIGHTHPLATE HELPS CREATE OVER 50,000 MEALS FOR THOSE IN NEED USING LEFTOVER FOOD WASTE

8th plate1EighthPlate, a project created to reduce the amount of edible food which is destroyed at festivals, has so far collected over 20 tonnes of food and distributed to those in need.
The initiative, which is a partnership between FareShare South West, The Nationwide Caterers Association and A Greener Festival, worked closely with traders and festival-goers at numerous festivals this summer to ensure that perfectly edible food does not end up in landfill.
The project is just over half way and is well on its way to reaching the 60 tonne target that was set at the start of the project. EighthPlate has so far collected over 20 tonnes of edible food waste from festivals including over 10,000 bread rolls, 900 eggs, 300 chickens, 1,500 carrots, 400 litres of milk and even 600 cabbages! The collections have allowed the team to make over 3,000 meals for the most vulnerable people in society and distributed the equivalent of 47,620 meals in uncooked fresh fruit and vegetables. Most recently a collection of fresh vegetables and bakery items was also sent to Southampton City Mission, which provides emergency food and clothes to those that need it most. Patrick House Hostel in Southampton also received a large delivery which will feed their 60 residents for nearly a month.
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Emma Dyer, Project Manager at EighthPlate said: “The response that we have received from the traders and festival goers has been fantastic. All of the traders do their very best to control the level of waste they produce, but at a festival with thousands of people it really is a complete unknown as to how much food you will actually sell. We are overwhelmed with their generosity and the support that we have received from the festival organisers too. We look forward to working out a toolkit this winter that will help traders and event organisers work together to reduce their waste.”

Mark Laurie, Director at NCASS said: “The amount of food wasted at festivals can be quite high so the ultimate aim is to manage stock as effectively as possible to minimise waste. Where inefficiencies occur we should be looking to help the people that need it most. These results show that the scheme is working and we hope that it can be rolled out across all festivals in the future. With the ever increasing costs of produce and fuel, sustainability is becoming a necessity for catering businesses rather than a luxury. NCASS will continue to support the EighthPlate project because sustainability at events is a big part of our mantra, and helping those in need is something that we feel very strongly about.”

EighthPlate will be collecting from two more festivals this summer including Shambala and End of the Road.

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XX-Powerful-Street-Art-Pieces-That-Tell-The-Uncomfortable-Thruth26__880This from the Guardian: The world’s least-developed countries have accused richer nations of failing to provide financial backing for a strong new global climate treaty. With little negotiating time left ahead of the UN climate summit in Paris later this year, diplomats from nearly 200 countries meeting in Bonn have reportedly made little progress, raising the possibility of a last-minute diplomatic fiasco, as happened in Copenhagen in 2009. The mistrust between countries that built up in Copenhagen now threatens the Paris talks, said Tosi Mpanu-Mpanu of the Democratic Republic of Congo, who is chairman of the 48-strong least-developed countries group. “The [UN] process is flawed by a complete lack of trust and confidence between rich and poor countries,” he said. “We need time. Because of this lack of trust we have no other way of proceeding. We have to go ahead with baby steps. We are not making much progress, but we are going in the right direction. There are so many issues. It’s a process of attrition. “Every year there is a watering down of the commitments. It feels every year that we are losing out. Twenty countries contribute 80% of emissions, the rest 20%. Yet we in Africa are being asked to cut emissions. OK, we say, but help us. Give us finance, technology.” With only around 10 days’ worth of negotiations remaining after the Bonn talks close next week, no discussion has started on three vital issues: whether rich countries should compensate poor ones for the loss and damage done by extreme weather events exacerbated by climate change; how deep the overall emission cuts should be; and how countries should fairly share the burden of cuts.

food wasteGovernments across the world should make reducing food waste an urgent priority in order to save as much as £194bn annually by 2030, according to a report. Cutting food waste leads to greater efficiency, more productivity and higher economic growth, it said, but achieving such an aspiration would involve consumers cutting their own food and drink waste by as much as half. One third of all food produced in the world ends up as waste, with food wasted by consumers globally valued at more than £259bn per year. But that cost could soar to £388bn as the global middle class expands over the course of the next fifteen years, according to new figures from the UK government’s waste advisory body Waste and Resources Action Programme (Wrap) for the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate.  Their new report, ’Strategies to achieve economic and environmental gains by reducing food waste’, also identifies significant opportunities to improve economic performance and tackle climate change by reducing the amount of food that is wasted at various stages in the supply chain – in agriculture, transport, storage and consumption. It highlights how practical changes, such as lowering the average temperatures of refrigerators or designing better packaging, can make a big difference in preventing spoilage. Approximately 25% of food waste in the developing world could be eliminated with better refrigeration equipment. More here. You can access the Report here.

food wasteTesco is to become the first British supermarket to launch a bold new scheme to donate leftover food to charity, as their CEO admitted they were “not comfortable” about throwing away thousands of tonnes of food every year which could have been eaten by people in need. Company chief Dave Lewis told The Huffington Post UK: “A number of years ago we identified that food waste was an issue for our business. ” Despite taking some measures to prevent food waste, Lewis said the company “didn’t feel good about” the fact that the fluctuating demand for different food in supermarkets meant “you’re left with food that passes its sell-by date but is still perfectly good for human consumption.” “This was something we didn’t feel comfortable about.”

the-food-waste-project-partnershipAnd  EighthPlate have teamed up with Formulate Media to make a short film about their ‎foodwaste‬ crusade, to be shown at the end of their year – collecting waste food from festivals in the United Kingdom and delivering it to those who need it. The team at A Greener Festival are proud to be part of  8th Plate: The Food Waste Project. 8th Plate is a project which aims to salvage 60 tonnes of festival food waste this summer, to make 143,000 ready meals for vulnerable people in society.

Thrifty habits of our forefathers key to reducing waste “Make do and mend” – it was a way of life for generations gone by. But while the consumer age gives us more choice than ever, the downside is we are creating more waste than the Scotland can handle.

Last month the Saudi oil minister said that he recognised that eventually the world won’t need fossil fuels pointing to 2040 or 2050 as a cut off date. It not that the oil will run out – nor fears of climate change – its just that solar and wind power are becoming increasingly cheap to produce. Renewable technologies have risen from 13% of global power to 22% in the last decade – and the cost of generating solar power has fallen 80% in six years and wind power is 40% cheaper.  Last year $150 billion was invested in solar power and $100 billion in wind – with Elon Musk’s moves to develop batteries to store sustainable power until it is needed seen as a key move forwards. Daimler in Germany are also developing new batteries alongside Tesla’s moves.  Cheap, clean energy. what’s not to like? Unless you are an oil, gas or coal company …….. and the former chairman of Shell has said that investors moving their money out of fossil fuel companies is a rational response to the industry’s “distressing” lack of progress on climate change. Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, who spent almost four decades at Shell and rose to be its chairman, also said the big oil and gas companies had been calling for a price to be put on CO2 emissions for 15 years but had done little to make it happen.

The value of Europe’s five biggest energy utilities dropped €100bn (£73bn) between 2008 and 2013 in part because of a dogged preference for coal over clean power investments, a new report says. The five firms – E.ON, RWE, GDF Suez, EDF and Enel – collectively lost 37% of their share value in the period, in part because of their increasing dependence on loss-making new coal generating capacity, according to the study by the Carbon Tracker Initiative. As the recession on the continent dampened power demand and the EU enacted new clean energy laws, Europe’s coal use fell by around 5%. At the same time, the ‘big five’ firms increased their reliance on coal by 9%. More here.

SLAemailHeaderEntry to the edie Sustainability Leaders Awards 2015 is now open with 13 categories to choose from. Long standing, distinguished categories such as the all-important Sustainability Leader Award are joined by some brand new categories, such as the Sustainable Business Models and the Sustainability Professional Awards, with all categories focusing on specific aspects of sustainability and the environmental and business improvements they drive. More here.

Norway’s parliament has formally endorsed the move to sell off coal investments from its $900bn sovereign wealth fund, the world’s biggest. It is the largest fossil fuel divestment yet, affecting 122 companies across the world, and marking a new success for the fast-growing and UN-backed climate change campaign. A new analysis said the fund would sell off over $8bn (£5bn) of coal-related investments as a result. The biggest single sell-off from Norway’s fund will be the UK utility SSE, in which the fund holds $956m of shares. The fund is also set to sell its $49m stake in Drax, which runs the UK’s biggest coal-fired power station. And the Royal Australasian College of Physicians has announced that it will divest about £1.2m (A$2.3m) of fossil fuel interests from its £45m (A$90m) endowment. The RACP is Australasia’s largest specialist medical college.

Shell_oil_croppedShell tried to influence the presentation of a climate change programme it was sponsoring at the Science Museum in London, internal documents seen by the Guardian show. The Anglo-Dutch oil group raised concerns with the museum that one part of the project “creates an opportunity for NGOs to talk about some of the issues that concern them around Shell’s operations”. The company also wanted to know whether a particular symposium at the museum was “invite only” – as that would ensure “we do not proactively open up a debate on the topic [of Shell’s operations]”.

Britain will be home to the world’s first ever tidal lagoon energy project as Energy Secretary Amber Rudd has granted planning permission for a giant tidal power plant off the coast of Wales. In what has been hailed as a “exciting step” towards harnessing untapped tidal energy sources, the Department for Energy & Climate Change (DECC) has confirmed that the £850m Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project will be developed by British firm Tidal Lagoon Power. When fully operational, by the year 2023, the 320MW scheme could provide up to 8% of the UK’s electricity, adding up to £27bn to GDP by 2027.

The G7 summit of economic powers has thrown its weight behind a goal to phase out greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2100 in what has been hailed as an unequivocal sign on climate action. At the G7 Summit this week, the leaders of the US, UK, Japan, France, Canada, Italy and host nation Germany unanimously agreed to a full “decarbonisation of the global economy over the course of this century”.  Climate change topped the agenda for a series of session of the Summit, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel – once dubbed the ‘Climate Chancellor’ – making the official announcement on specific emissions goals: “We commit to doing our part to achieve a low-carbon global economy in the long-term including developing and deploying innovative technologies striving for a transformation of the energy sectors by 2050 and invite all countries to join us in this endeavor,” reads the official statement. “To this end we also commit to develop long term national low-carbon strategies.”

Approximately 425GW of energy storage will be needed to support the planet’s transition to 45% renewable energy by 2030, according to a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The Abu Dhabi-based have published a roadmap to building 325GW of pumped-storage hydroelec­tricity, and 150GW of battery storage. Currently pumped hydro – pumping water uphill into large reservoirs when power is abundant and then letting it flow down again to generate power when needed – accounts for 99% of the world’s 142GW storage capacity.

The Guardian reports that developing countries have the opportunity to leapfrog the west in economic development, if they go straight to clean technology while rich countries struggle to wean themselves off fossil fuels, president Francois Hollande of France said on Wednesday. “They are going to be skipping the stage where industrialised countries were stopped fro a long time, for many decades,” he said. “We were dependent on fossil fuel, which means we now have to concentrate on the transition in the medium to long term of abandoning fossil fuels. But they have the chance to move immediately to the new technologies.” He said clean technologies such as renewable energy were “dropping in price and will continue to drop”, while industrialised countries faced costs in having to scrap old infrastructure and rebuild it anew in a low-carbon fashion. Developing countries, many of which are constructing scores of new cities to house their burgeoning populations, would be able to build them in a low-carbon way, with better energy efficiency, he told the annual meeting of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, in Paris.

Global warming has not undergone a ‘pause’ or ‘hiatus’, according to US government research that undermines one of the key arguments used by sceptics to question climate science. The new study reassessed the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (Noaa) temperature record to account for changing methods of measuring the global surface temperature over the past century. The adjustments to the data were slight, but removed a flattening of the graph this century that has led climate sceptics to claim the rise in global temperatures had stopped. “There is no slowdown in warming, there is no hiatus,” said lead author Dr Tom Karl, who is the director of Noaa’s National Climatic Data Centre.

SOLAR POWERThe UK solar sector has seemingly become a victim of its own success, with big developers and investors now claiming they will not be making use of the Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme for large projects over the next year. According to a new survey conducted by PwC in conjunction with the Solar Trade Association (STA), the majority of developers who were responsible for adding more than 1GW to the grid in the past six months have said they will be focusing on smaller projects in the short-term, due to the recent closure of the Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROC) support mechanism for large-scale solar farms. As of April this year, solar schemes larger than 5MW in size are no longer eligible for ROCs, which oblige electricity companies to buy a certain amount of their electricity from renewable sources. The changes led to an industry ‘gold rush’, whereby developers hurried to connect large systems to the grid in time to qualify for certificates.

Eighty of the UK’s largest businesses have sent an open letter to David Cameron urging him to tackle climate change and support a low-carbon UK economy. Signed by firms including BT, John Lewis, Coke, Mars, IKEA and Marks & Spencer, the letter calls for the Prime Minister do three specific things: Seek a strong global climate deal in Paris in December which limits temperature rises to below 2°C. Set an ambitious 5th carbon budget to drive forward UK emissions reductions and Establish a long-term framework for investment in the low-carbon economy. “We are some of the businesses that will help create the UK’s future economy,” said the letter, published in the Financial Times.

Corporate fleet managers across Europe could cut millions of tonnes of CO2 and save £20bn a year by taking advantage of available green technologies and efficiency techniques. That’s the conclusion of a Greenpeace-commissioned report by sustainability consultants CE Delft. As well as simply switching to electric and hybrid vehicles, the report covers a wide variety of approaches to reducing fuel consumption. For example, drivers can be trained to drive more efficiently, cutting fuel costs and emissions by 20%, the report estimates. Retro-fitting vehicles with aerodynamic features, new tyres and weight reductions could also cut fuel consumption by up to 45%.

airpollutionEdie.net reports that investments in the coal and oil sectors will see annual losses up to 2% over the next 10 years, if the world’s governments commit to limiting global warming to 2C at Paris later this year. By contrast, returns from the renewables sector would be expected to double in the next ten years from 5.3% to 10.4%. Those stats are from a new report released this week by consultancy firm Mercer. The report warns that investors should consider moving away from fossil fuel sectors, which could see their profitability wiped out by concerted global action against climate change. Under a 2C pathway, Mercer predicts coal stocks to provide average returns of -2.0% a year for the next 10 years, and oil stocks to return -0.7% a year. Utilities’ returns are also expected to fall from 5.1% a year, to 1.2%. And that’s why the coal, gas and oil sectors lobyy and lobby and lobby.

Zero Waste Scotland has launched its first recycling superstore in the Scottsih Highlands. The Blythswood Care’s store – opened on June 5 – is the first of Zero Waste Scotland’s re-use ‘hubs’, which it hopes will popularise the concept of a circular economy. The shop in Dingwall will sell a variety of second-hand items ranging from furniture and kitchen appliances, to carpets, toys and clothes. The store also features a Repair Club, with staff demonstrating sewing skills and furniture repairs to customers.

World Environment Day: 10 things we should ALL be thinking about

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FRACKEDPlanning decisions on the UK’s full scale fracking have been deferred for eight weeks by Lancashire county council (LCC), which was due to decide this week on two proposals from shale gas explorer Cuadrilla. But after council planning officers recommended last week that permission should be refused on the grounds of “unacceptable” noise and heavy truck traffic, Cuadrilla submitted revised proposals. LCC’s chief legal adviser said on Wednesday that these proposals were “substantive” and therefore had to go out to public consultation.

Our good friend Bruce said this on Face Book about the recent fracking vote which was substantially won by David Cameron and George Osbourne’s need for greed : “Well the vote has come through in favour of Fracking! So now it is going to be financed by our taxes, profits going to the shale companies and commissions going to their corrupt MP’s, local councils will have to support shale requirements to suppliment their annual budgets and/or face being sued for lack of profit by shale companies if the don’t let fracking happen in their council!!!”. He is SO right.

scotlandnofrackBut Fergus Ewing, the Scottish minister for energy, has now told the Scottish Parliament “I’m announcing today a moratorium [open-ended ban] on the granting of planning consents for all unconventional oil and gas developments.” There’s still work to do to turn this temporary ban into an outright ban, but for now this is brilliant news! Well done safe and sensible Scotland!

shellShell, the Anglo-Dutch oil company, will cut its spending by $15 billion over the next three years – but not because of any public understanding of the problems caused by greenhouse gas emissions and climate change – just because the price of crude oil has collapsed by 60%. The group will scale back or cancel 40 planned oil and gas projects – but will spend another $1 billion on its first drilling programme in the Arctic – which has been marred by environmental fines and accidents.  Shell is also set to confront the risk that climate change may pose to its future, after backing a resolution from activist shareholders. The resolution, filed by 150 investors who control hundreds of billions of pounds, requires the oil major to test whether its business model is compatible with the pledge by the world’s nations to limit global warming to 2C. The 2C target means only a quarter of existing, exploitable fossil fuel reserves are burnable, according to a series of recent analyses. That implies trillions of dollars of oil, gas and coal held by investors could become worthless and that continuing exploration for fossil fuels may be pointless.

A new global pact on climate change, due to be signed this year in Paris, should be a “Magna Carta for the Earth”, Prince Charles has urged. He said this year marked potentially the “last chance” to save the world from the perils of global warming, with the Paris conference and the United Nations’ plan to replace the millennium development goals with a new set of sustainable development targets. “We simply cannot let this opportunity go to waste. There is just too much at stake, and has been for far too long.” He told a meeting of forestry and climate experts in London: “In the 800th anniversary year of the Magna Carta, perhaps this year’s agreement of the new sustainable development goals and a new climate agreement in Paris should be seen as a new Magna Carta for the Earth, and humanity’s relationship with it.”

The world can enjoy higher standards of living and more travel, while drastically cutting emissions to avoid dangerous climate change – but only with sweeping changes to our infrastructure, the natural world and agriculture, a new analysis has found. The UK government analysis also assumes that billions of people will remain in dire poverty at mid-century, despite efforts to lift them to greater prosperity, as the population rises to an estimated nine billion people. Dealing with greenhouse gas emissions will require a transformation of electricity generation, including an expansion of renewable energy and nuclear power, as well as more public transport and changes to the built environment, according to the key findings of the Global Calculator, an online software tool developed by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), with partners. DECC says the UK has reinforced its ‘leading position’ on climate change ahead of Paris 2015 with the launch of the  new tool to help businesses and governments understand the environmental impacts of energy and emissions policies.

suslive-headFor the first time, edie will be hosting an Innovation Zone at Sustainability Live 2015 to showcase the best emerging, pre-commercialised sustainability solutions.   The Innovation Zone will showcase 16 selected entries to an invited audience of potential investors and venture capitalists along with the show’s visitors from the business and public sectors.  Edie are looking for emerging products, technologies and solutions in the energy, waste, water and cleantech space which are yet to be commercialised but have reached trial or prototype stage. ENTER ONLINE HERE.

The number of monarch butterflies that reached wintering grounds in Mexico has rebounded 69% from last year’s lowest-on-record levels, but their numbers remain very low, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

The impact of China’s clean air and renewable energy policies are beginning to have an impact on the country’s coal industry, according to reports suggesting domestic coal production fell last year. State media reported that coal production fell in 2014 for the first time this century, with production totalling 3.5bn tonnes between January and November representing a 2.1% fall on the same period in 2013.

australiatemprpedictionsThe Guardian reports that Australia could be on track for a temperature rise of more than 5C by the end of the century, outstripping the rate of warming experienced by the rest of the world, unless drastic action is taken to slash greenhouse gas emissions, according to the most comprehensive analysis ever produced of the country’s future climate. The national science agency CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology have released the projections based on 40 global climate models, producing what they said was the most robust picture yet of how Australia’s climate would change. The report stated there was “very high confidence” that temperatures would rise across Australia throughout the century, with the average annual temperature set to be up to 1.3C warmer in 2030 compared with the average experienced between 1986 and 2005.

The UK’s Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey has admitted that the UK is in danger of missing renewable heat and renewable transport targets for 2020. In an effort to comply with a legally binding EU target to source 15% of energy from renewables, the UK has set itself subtargets of 30% of electricity from renewables, 12% of heat, and 10% of transport fuel. While the UK is on track to hit its electricity targets, Davey said there was work to do on heat and transport.  Renewables supplied just less than 18% of electricity in the first three quarters of 2014, while biofuels accounted for around 4% of all road fuel in the same period. The most recent figures edie could find for heat (2012) suggested that just 2.3% of the UK’s heat comes from renewable source

Edie.net reports that European countries should be given binding targets for installing technology to capture and store carbon emissions, according to a new report for the European commission The UN’s climate science panel says such technology could have to account for over a fifth of the world’s carbon cuts by 2050 and the new paper, produced by consultants for the EC, says there is a “genuine and urgent” need for it in Europe.  Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is an experimental technology that traps emissions produced at power plants to reduce their contribution to climate change.

FOOD WATE2A cross-party group of MPs has urged the UK Government to provide WRAP with ‘sufficient public funding’ for it to maintain momentum in its food waste reduction programmes. The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRA) made the announcement in a report it published, today (22 January), entitled ‘Food security demand, consumption and waste’.  Due to the Government’s Spending Review, WRAP has seen its funding cut from £48.1m in 2010-11 to £17.6m in 2014-15. Funding for 2015-16 is anticipated to be £15.5m. However, WRAP has recently achieved charitable status, which could allow it access to wider funding such as from trusts and charities.  WRAP’s Courtauld Commitment Phase 3 has seen 80% more food being redistributed by retailers and food manufacturers, and a 4.5% reduction of the carbon impacts of packaging in its first year. The organisation released the first-year results of the Courtauld Commitment Phase 3 – a voluntary agreement supporting retail businesses to improve their overall performance and reduce their environmental impact.   Food waste prevention efforts have seen food donations rise from 21kt in 2012 to 38kt in 2013, and companies are well ahead of a 2015 target of zero increase in the carbon impact of packaging; through reductions in packaging, an increase in recycled content and the use of different materials.

UK wind energy broke new records for monthly, weekly and half-hourly generation in January, providing enough energy to power almost nine million UK homes.  New official figures from the National Grid reveal that 14% of Britain’s energy (4.1TWh) came from wind turbines last month. The weekly record was also broken with 1.119GWh generated, and the half-hourly record was exceeded on 2 January, when wind supplied 31% of the nation’s energy demands. Wind power output in Scotland got off to a “flying start” last month, generating enough energy to supply the electrical needs of 146% of Scottish households.

Sunday’s Super Bowl match, which was watched by more than 100 million people worldwide, was the first to be lit entirely by energy-efficient LED lights.  New York-based LED company Ephesus installed 312 new LED fixtures at the 72,000 seat University of Phoenix stadium, which played host to the Super Bowl XLIX between the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots. The stadium’s new lighting system replaced 780 metal halide bulbs, saving 75-85% of power – almost a million watts. Ephesus Lighting’s president Mike Lorenz said the Super Bowl’s estimated global audience of 110 million people provided the perfect platform to showcase the LED technology.

Edie.net reports that  US President Barack Obama has released his budget proposal for the fiscal year 2016, featuring a $450m spending bump for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and a new $4bn fund to encourage states to cut emissions from power stations. More than half ($239m) of the EPA funding boost will go towards the EPA’s Clean Power Plan which also tackles power plant emissions.  On renewable energy, the plan proposes to permanently extend a tax credit for wind energy and a tax credit for solar power, which together would cost the government $31.5 billion over the next decade. The President also pledged $7.4bn for clean energy and efficiency developments at the Departments of Energy and Defence.

droughteastafricaBelief in the reality of climate change and its human causes is at its highest level amongst the British public since 2005, having significantly risen in the past year following the recent storms and flooding.  A report by Cardiff University – Public perceptions of climate change in Britain following the winter 2013/2014 flooding – focused on people’s responses to the series of exceptional flooding events that affected the UK in late 2013 and early 2014. “Our findings demonstrate that an association between last year’s winter flooding and climate change has been forming in the minds of many ordinary people in Britain, who also view these events as a sign of things to come,” Cardiff University’s School of Psychology’s Professor Nick Pidgeon told Edie.net.

And finally but hopefully not terminally …..  The European Union climate chief Miguel Arias Canete says talks at the next major climate summit in Paris this year will not be a failure even if governments fail to keep warming below the dangerous 2C threshold. The comments, downgrading expectations for a strong outcome at Paris, suggest that the architects of a global climate deal are already resigned to the prospect that governments will fail to aim high enough when setting out their targets for cutting greenhouse gas emission in the coming months.